Revenue Officer

What Is a Revenue Officer?

The term revenue officer refers to an individual who collects revenues on behalf of the government or some other agency. Revenue officers typically collect monies in the form of taxes and/or duties. The specific responsibilities of a revenue officer depend on the particular organization that employs the individual. Revenue officers shouldn't be confused with revenue agents. Some companies hire a chief revenue officer to monitor revenue generation.

Key Takeaways

  • Revenue officers are responsible for collecting taxes and duties owed to a government or agency.
  • Some of the responsibilities of a revenue officer include interviewing taxpayers and garnishing wages.
  • Revenue officers shouldn't be confused with IRS revenue agents, who are responsible for auditing taxpayers.
  • Although they are government officials, revenue officers don't carry firearms and can't arrest taxpayers.
  • Some corporations appoint a chief revenue office to oversee the firm's ability to generate and collect revenues.

Responsibilities of a Revenue Officer

A revenue officer is generally employed by a government agency, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in Canada. State and local taxing agencies may also employ revenue officers. In some cases, these officers may also be called collectors.

As noted above, revenue officers are primarily involved in the collection of debts owed to the agencies for which they work. For instance, excise tax revenue officers in Canada have more of an audit, advisory, and legal role. The primary responsibility of revenue officers who work with the IRS, on the other hand, is collecting delinquent or back taxes and overdue tax returns from taxpayers. An IRS revenue officer also:

  • conducts face-to-face interviews with taxpayers
  • obtains and analyzes financial information to ascertain the ability to pay the tax bill
  • designs payment plans to help those with tax arrears pay them over time
  • garnishes wages and seizes personal property to pay off delinquent taxes

A revenue officer with the IRS is also responsible for filing extensions on statutes of limitations for tax collection and initiating administrative and judicial actions. This position is often confused with that of a revenue agent, who is instead tasked with conducting audits of tax returns.

Many scammers claim to be IRS revenue officers and claim to have the ability to arrest the people they are trying to extort.

Special Considerations

While they are government employees, IRS revenue officers do not carry firearms or have the authority to arrest taxpayers. One of the primary duties of these individuals is to help to create a payment plan for collecting any unpaid taxes. The officer will attempt to make an unannounced, in-person visit with the delinquent taxpayer. This is known as a field audit.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups together examiners, collectors, and revenue agents into one category. According to the agency's Occupational Outlook Handbook, these professionals earned an average annual salary of $55,640 per year in 2020. This figure translates to $26.75 per hour. The number of jobs in this field in 2019 totaled 56,900. Job growth in this field is expected to decline by 4% until 2029.

Revenue Officers vs. Revenue Agents

Revenue officers cover the more difficult tax cases. When the IRS isn't able to collect via letters, phone calls, tax levies, or garnishments, they send revenue officers.  They generally don't have any accounting training. But they do have discretion on seizing and selling assets to cover tax liabilities, as well as lien discharges. They can also approve or reject installment plans.

While a revenue officer actually collects taxes, revenue agents are the ones who handle tax audits with the IRS. The role of a revenue agent is to determine tax liability via an audit. The audit that agents carry out is also known as an examination. As such, these individuals work directly with taxpayers, their representatives, tax preparers, and tax lawyers.

IRS revenue officers carry two forms of official identification: a pocket commission and a standardized federal identity credential known as an HSPD-12 card.

Revenue Officer vs. Chief Revenue Officer

Some organizations appoint a chief revenue officer to oversee all revenue-generating functions of a business. They are also responsible for overseeing the strategy for profitable revenue generation over the company's long term. Their purpose is to align and optimize the entire customer experience with the aim of increasing revenue. They report to the chief financial officer (CFO).

The role of a CRO was born in Silicon Valley to capitalize on new revenue opportunities created by digital products and services, particularly the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry. CROs are typically data-driven and tech-savvy, which is essential given that they work in companies that employ a lot of people with product and engineering backgrounds.

Since the chief revenue officer is tasked with primary or shared responsibility for operations, sales, corporate development, marketing, pricing, and revenue management, functions that extend across multiple teams in most companies, a good CRO must maintain an excellent communication framework across the various organizational functions and share best practices among the revenue stream managers in order to maximize revenue production.

How Can I Become a Revenue Officer?

A bachelor's degree is required and a concentration in mathematics, statistics, and economics will help you become a revenue officer. You will need to be well versed in topics related to international affairs and global and domestic economics and politics. There is no specific job that you need to have before becoming a revenue officer.

How Much Do Revenue Officers Make?

The average annual salary of a revenue officer is $123,250. This ranges from $20,500 on the low end to $301,000 on the high end. The majority of revenue officer salaries, however, range between $50,000 and $188,000.

Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents - What Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents Do." Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.

  2. Internal Revenue Service. "Business & Tax Enforcement." Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.

  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. "Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents - Summary." Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.

  4. Internal Revenue Service. "Internal Revenue Agent GS-0512." Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.

  5. Internal Revenue Service. "How To Know it’s Really the IRS Calling or Knocking on Your Door: Collection." Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.

  6. ZipRecruiter. "Revenue Officer Salary." Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.

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